Praise the Holy One I Samuel 1:4-20

Thanksgiving Sunday

Where are you going for Thanksgiving?  Will you be one of the many millions traveling this year?  Last year, the figure for numbers of people moving around the lower 48 on Thanksgiving Day was around 50 million.  Everyone is moving like a river toward and through the world swirling like circles inside of circles and ending up at almost the same meal.  It may be that 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just stop and remember what we share?

Remember to be grateful for everything that saves us, and all of creation that embraces and nurtures and quenches our thirst.  To be grateful for a growing generation that learns before our eyes how to speak truth to power.  To be grateful for all those who inhabit this world with us and in gratitude see how much we need each other.   Being grateful is both a response to love and a generator of love.

Perhaps on Thanksgiving it’s a good day for us to remember that we are grateful for the things we love because of what they call us to become.  To love creation calls us into a world of nature and color and the genius of creatures and the suffering caused by climate change.  It pulls us into the actual place we live beyond sidewalks and the walls of our homes, or the seats of our cars, or the screens of our computers.  Gratitude for creation and our love if it reminds us that nature is our true home.

To love children is to love what the world may become, and be grateful, in advance, for what they will do for others.  To love children is to love into the future by influencing their experience of the present.  To love children is to teach them things they might need to know.  But mostly to show them how beautiful they are and how Jesus needs them to be his hands and they are beloved.

To love one’s neighbor pulls one across the globe, and into our backyards.  Who are all these people?  What are they doing traveling with us on this day?  Eating turkey.  Sharing life.  Breathing.  Laughing.  Telling stories.  Mourning loss.  Being happy.  Irritated with a cousin, or sibling.  We are also grateful that there is a world where evening meals share different settings and a plenary of tastes.  We are grateful for global neighbors.  Among all the things that love can teach, our three great loves (Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, Love of Creation) teach us gratitude.


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I am Thankful for… by Nancie J. Carmody

…the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

— the taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.

–the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

–my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

Free speech zone:  I am thankful for…

…all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

…the lady behind me in church who sings off-key because it means that I can hear.

Parking–the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

…the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

…a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

…my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.

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The Knots Prayer

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life.  Remove the have nots, the cannots and the do nots that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots’ that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.

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Twelve Things Pastors Cannot Do, by Dr. Chuck Lawless, Professor of Evangelism and Missions/Dean of Graduate Studies at SoutheasternSeminary

There are 12 things pastors cannot do–even though pastors are, in my judgment, amazing people. They faithfully serve Sunday after Sunday, often with no desire for recognition  or fame.  In faith, they can do a lot but here are…12 things pastors cannot do.

Read minds. Everybody knows that, but many church members hold pastors accountable for unstated expectations.

Be everywhere.  No human being can be every place at once yet, some members still get angry when pastors have to say “No.”

Change hearts.  Only God can do that.

Know everything.  Most pastors study hard, but nobody can answer every question somebody asks.

Please everybody.  Even Jesus could not do that!

Live sinless.  Nobody can–including you–and me– we are all sinners.

Grow churches.  If the church does grow, it is because God does it with the help of all-not just the pastor.

Multiply dollars.  That is too bad, too, since some churches do not pay their pastors well.

Escape mistakes.  All of us will mess up sometime, often unintentionally and even unknowingly.

Avoid favoritism.  Pastors minister to everybody but having better (and best) friends is natural and healthy.

Reveal everything.  No matter how much you may want to know the details, pastors may not be in a position to tell you.

Ignore sin.  Pastors must address this issue–even when it is not popular.

Say a prayer for your pastor today.  Pastors have tough jobs.

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Church World Service Tool Project

Our special offering through November 25 will be to the Church World Service tool campaign.  Just as we have offered CWS blankets as a special offering, we have an opportunity to join in this worthwhile project by providing tools for building construction and maintenance to our friends in Haiti and other devastated and underdeveloped countries.  Help us help even more families through your generosity to this project.  “Thank boxes” can be found on the front table or at the back of the church.

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Centering Words for November 18:  Our baskets are full, gracious God, with the bounty you have provided.  Our hearts are full of thanksgiving and praise.  We are eager to meet you here, to learn from you, to be changed by you, and to become more fully the people you intend for us to be.  Show us how to do the work you have planned for us.  Equip us as your faithful stewards.  Amen.

Sunday, November 18–Worship service, 10:30 a.m.; Pastor Carol’s meditation is titled “Lest We forget” .  Scripture passages are Psalm 95:1-7; Deuteronomy 8:1-20.  A service of Thanksgiving will be observed.  The choir, under the direction of Bluffton University music student, Eddie Martin, will sing “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem”.   A fellowship hour follows the worship service.

The Board of Christian Education meets after worship.

Tuesday, November 20–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; TOPS 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 21–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.; NO Choir Practice

Thursday, November 22–Happy Thanksgiving

Friday,November 23–Church office closed

Sunday, November 25–Consistory meets after worship



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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday, November 27 ,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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Facebook Page

You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page.  There are many interesting articles posted every day.  “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!

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St Johns Snow

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This website can now be found at!

In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at!  You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.

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